Friday, November 24, 2006


picture this: an airport totally congested because flights are all delayed. people are sitting around, long faces--disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, just wishing they could get home. no telling when things will pick up and people will be able to leave again.

and then, a woman whips out a dancing snowman, turns it on, and the whole airport lights up, and people start singing. not only that--they're suddenly happy, enjoying life again, in spite of the circumstances. and this goes on for quite a while, and when the flights are finally called again, people are having too much fun to get on the plane.

and this is the picture that Hallmark wants you to believe is reality. they actually advertise for people to buy a dancing/singing snowman using this little life picture. things are bad, woman whips out snowman, everyone is happy.

i am simply stunned by this--stunned by these ads every Christmas. i can't believe that they try to paint their little nick knacks as the answer to frustration and bad attitudes. i can't believe that they actually sell these little snowmen by advertising this way. do people actually buy into this story? i can't even imagine it.

so yeah. i don't even know why i write about this, except that it just amazes me every holiday season. i can't even figure out what it says about our culture. i just find it fascinating.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

the holidays

today i decorated for christmas. a couple of days ago i was running through some songs on my guitar to use at church on sunday nights. it's amazing how the music sets the mood. so today i got out my christmas lights & the baby christmas tree that my mom got me when i went to college. it's about 2 feet tall. anyway, i have regular sized ornaments on it, as well as tiny ones, so it looks kind of charlie brownish. but that's alright. and the christmas lights are all around the ceiling of my living room. the atmosphere is great.

i didn't decorate for christmas at all last year. i didn't even really celebrate it. so this year i guess i'm making up for it by decorating early.

i'm off to our sun. night service community dinner, and then we'll all go to the all-church thanksgiving service. it should be a good time to just talk with people. as the guitar-player/music leader, i don't have a lot of time to chat with people on sunday nights.

tomorrow i start the hard-core studying for exams. i hope i'll be able to muster up the motivation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

and so it begins

i downloaded the dreaded bar exam application yesterday. i even started filling parts of it out. the part where you apply to take the exam is not the awful part--it's actually pretty simple. the difficult part is the character & fitness portion. you have to list where you've lived and worked back to the time you're 16. but you also have to list an address for any trip or vacation where you've spent more than 2 weeks--2 weeks! i can't even guarantee that i remember all the places where i've spent more than 2 weeks.

the good news is that working for the feds this summer required me to already compile most of this information. the bad news is that i have to get fingerprinted--again. and this time i also have to request information from police departments in places where i've been for more than 2 weeks--just a report saying whether or not they've investigated me for anything.

so anyway, thus begins the nightmare. and i thought i was actually going to get a break over break. it's not looking so good, now.

Monday, November 13, 2006


this process of deciding what to do with my law degree is a very interesting process.

since i started interviewing this fall i've been thinking a lot about what i actually want to do when i'm done. i've been taking inventories of my passions/gifts/desires. i've been praying a lot about how God might want to use the skill that i've learned. and i've attended the interviews.

and honestly, i think i'd be happiest working for myself, or working part time, and having the rest of my time & energy left over to do other things. i still want to be a part of ministry in the church--more specifically of assisting the church in its relationship with other cultures--including the greater secular culture or just cross-cultures within the church and community.

i didn't go to law school to get a career. i went because i wanted to find a way to support myself, to do something practical and concrete for the cause of justice, and to give myself the freedom and ability to give my time away.

it would be so easy to follow a particular path to a career. it's what everyone thinks is supposed to happen--you get a job, make lots of money, etc. it would be so easy to get sucked in to that. but that's not what i want. that's not why i came. i don't want prestige, and i don't even want power. if God puts me in a position of power, then i'll try to use it for justice, but if i never have it i won't be sad.

i want to write. i want to write about legal policies that need to be changed. but more than that i want to write for the church about culture and beliefs. i want to give my time to people--to the church, and also in the trenches so that i know what laws need to be changed and what would actually be helpful.

so i don't know. this all makes me think i should take the job in my city even if i get an offer to do policy/advocacy research. because long-term, i don't want to be committed to just one cause. i want to have the freedom to do a lot of different things. and staying here, paying off my bills, and getting contacts within the legal world here. i just think i'd have lots of options if i do that.

so i don't know, though. i don't want to choose the wrong thing or miss out on a career if that's what i'm supposed to do. i don't want to foreclose that option prematurely. i'll keep you posted on where i end up. it's a lot to think about.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


i've managed to exhaust myself to the point of getting sick. just a little sick, but i'll get sicker if i don't get some rest.

the last weeks have been crazy. way too crazy. i think it'll slow down now & be mostly study time.

i got my first job offer this last week. i can stay here in my city and work for the court of appeals in my state. it's a research & writing job--not quite a judicial clerk, but close. and it would allow me to stay here, pay off my bills, and get into a position where i can have a lot of freedom to do whatever kind of law i decide i want to do. i really want to stay here & do this. but i have to wait to decide until i hear from the fellowship that i applied to. if i make it to a second interview i think i have to follow through, just to see if i would be better off to start there.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


so i was in the airport last night, trying to get on my flight. i got up to the security checkpoint and discovered that the power was out throughout the entire airport. i wasn't going anywhere soon. as the minutes crept by, the people around me were getting more and more anxious. and then suddenly, everyone was on their cell phones. they were calling friends and family to reschedule plans. they were calling assistants to try to get information on whether planes were taking off without us. they were calling the airlines to try to reschedule flights.

and i just stood there. i don't have a cell phone. there was no one for me to call anyway. there was nothing i could do.

and so i observed. it was so interesting. first, we have very busy lives. i had scheduled a full day--thursday night i had class, so i couldn't leave on thursday. so friday morning i got on a plane, made one connection, and then arrived at my destination a little before noon. i had an interview at 2pm, and then i was to get back on the plane on friday around 5. i should have returned by 8. i had a test this morning an hour away from my house that i had to get back for.

why in the world do i believe that i can arrange my life like that? i can fly 800 miles round trip in one day, and sandwich in an interview between a night class and a morning test. why do i arrange my life like that? because i can. but should i? really?

what about time for people, relationships, family, church? is our life, technically advanced as it is, really better than the days that people lived in one place, traveled less, and actually had time to live life? i don't know what to conclude about that. i just know that when i fill up my life with things--just because i can--i end up feeling like i'm not really living.

second, it was really interesting to me that people wouldn't just stand there in line, waiting. we americans can't stand to wait. this situation was vastly beyond our control. the electricity was either going to come on, or it wasn't. the planes were leaving, or they were waiting for us. there was absolutely nothing that any of us could do. but i was amazed at how people did what they could to fix the situations that they were in. for the most part, all their efforts were in vain. but at least people felt like they were doing something about the situation. no one could stand to just wait.

and i wondered how that translates to our spiritual lives. the lack of an ability to wait seems to be a cultural phenomenon. we want things done right, and we want those things to happen right now. but i don't think that in the spritual realm things always happen that way. there are times when waiting is necessary, when God asks us to simply wait on him and trust. and there's something within us that doesn't want to do that. we want to fix it--to make things happen--to get ourselves out of the situation.

i think we have to work on that. i know that i have to work on it. i like for things to be settled and sure. if they're not that way, i'm not terribly patient while i work to make them that way. but there are times when i have to just wait. i'm kind of in one of them now, as i explore and try to hear God's direction for my future.

the good news is that the power came on again after about an hour & a half. a wonderful ticket agent got me on a flight with a different airline and i made it home just a couple hours late. i actually made it to my test this morning and was awake enough to take it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

one trial down

so tonight was my first trial. most people had partners, but i had to work alone. there were some good & some bad things about that. when i made a mistake, there was no one to catch it or fix it but me. but i got tons of practice.

there is momentum to trial. once it starts, you can't really stop it. you're off & running, and there's nothing to do but go along for the ride. so that's why preparation is so important, i think. you have to anticipate where that momentum will take you. and to some extent you have to control the momentum & make it work for you. it is a bit overwhelming, actually.

but overall i did a good job, according to the teacher. i nailed the closing argument. my opening statement was too short. apparently i did fairly well on the direct examination, evidentiary issues, and other such things. overall, i did a good job. so that's good.

my witness was awesome. i had my friend (who's not in the class--actually she's not even in law school) play 2 different witnesses. she did great. she was a drama queen, but still got out there everything that needed to be said. she was super-easy to work with. so that's great. for the next 2 trials my partner will be playing my witness, so that will be nice too.

anyway, fun stuff. 2 more trials to go. i've got one week til the next one.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

interview reports

well... the first two interviews of the week went very well.

monday's was the interview with the advocacy/policy clinic. i would absolutely love the work. the people seem really, really nice. it's completely the reason i went to law school. i think if the job was offered i would have to take it. but i'm not so gung ho about moving to that state for 2 years, and then having to look for a job and get established all over again. so there are really great things about it, and not so great things about it. i should know by the 15th whether i'll have a second interview with them.

interview 2 was yesterday--at my state court of appeals doing the initial case analysis. it would be a great job, and a great place to start. after a couple of years there i would have already been able to pay off all loans and maybe have saved up some money so i could go off on my own or have the flexibility to be more creative with my legal career. it would also allow me to stay in my city & continue to contribute to the church i'm involved in, and participate in the small groups & other community i've found here. so i'm not quite as passionate about this work, but it's a really, really good option. i should hear by late next week whether this position will be offered. and they allow me to wait before i tell them yes or no, to pursue the other leads that i have until i'm comfortable saying no to them and yes to this position. so that's a huge benefit.

today i officially finished my reading for this semester, and i think i briefed the last case i will ever have to brief in law school. yay! next semester i'm taking writing/practical classes so i will not have to do this kind of study any more. so i actually have 5 whole weeks to break things down & memorize stuff for exams & i've only got 2 classes. i've got no excuse not to be super-prepared.

tomorrow's my first mock-trial. i don't know what else to do to prepare, probably because i haven't been through one before. i keep thinking that i should be freaking out or working hard on something--i just don't know what to do. so i'm not worrying about it. i'm hoping that it will be a fun and challenging experience. and i'm sure that i'll know afterwards what i should have been freaking out about right now. :)

and then friday is my trip to my 3rd interview this week--another state's court of appeals to do a comparable job. i'm not sure what to think about this one, so i'll let you know after the fact.

i am tired, as i expected i would be this week. but i'm feeling pretty good about things too. i'll keep you posted on the results.